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SAFE learns rodeo organisers kept second fatality hidden

11 January 2019 | MEDIA RELEASE
SAFE appalled to learn rodeo organisers kept second fatality at Gisborne Rodeo hidden


New information given to SAFE this week reveals a second animal was killed at the Gisborne Rodeo last month, showing a lack of transparency around the animal cruelty in the rodeo community.

A source from the rodeo community, who wishes to remain anonymous, has informed SAFE that a horse was killed at the Gisborne Rodeo on December 27 after escaping a chute and running into a fence. This was the same rodeo where a bull was shot after dislocating part of his leg in a bullride event.

SAFE Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald is appalled that the horse's death was kept hidden when rodeo organisers acknowledged the death of a bull at the same rodeo.

“Rodeo organisers regard these horrific deaths as ‘freak accidents’ that ‘rarely occur’. We have now learned that not one, but two animals have been killed at the same rodeo in Gisborne. These animals have been killed for the entertainment of a minority,” says Ms Macdonald.

“There’s no transparency or accountability at rodeo events. It requires whistle-blowers and activists to bring fatalities to the public’s attention, so we don’t know how many animals overall are killed by the rodeo cowboys.”

The Rodeo Code of Welfare covers animals used in rodeo events, as well as animals used in rodeo training and rodeo schools. However, there are no requirements to report publicly on animal deaths and injuries.

“We know at least four animals have died in rodeo in 2018, but we don’t know how many have died in training. This figure could be so much bigger,” says Ms Macdonald.

“Even when animals aren’t killed, they often suffer extreme stress and fear. Animal loving New Zealanders have no stomach for the bullying of animals for fun. Rodeo organisers clearly know this. Rodeo cruelty can’t be improved, so it’s hidden as much as possible from public view.”

“It’s time that the Government steps in and ends this systematic cruelty and bans all future rodeo events.”

Background
Footage of Bull who dislocated his leg at Gisborne rodeo (courtesy NZ Anti-Rodeo Coalition)
Photo of Bull who dislocated his leg at Gisborne rodeo (courtesy NZ Anti-Rodeo Coalition)
Hi-res images of rodeo
Hi-res video of rodeo
Notes for Editor
• The bull was shot at the Gisborne Rodeo after dislocating his hock during a bull riding event. The video footage shows that despite the pain he must have been in, the bull continues to buck and writhe long after the cowboy has fallen off because the flank strap continues to be tight around his hindquarters.
• Labour campaigned on a promise to ban the cruellest aspects of rodeo, including a ban on the use of flank straps and calves under the age of 12 months.

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